Facts about Reindeer

One of the most beloved stories during the Holiday season is Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. What you might not know is that Rudolph is most likely a female, as are all of Santa’s reindeer. Males drop their antlers in November and don’t start growing them again until February. Females on the other hand have their antlers in December. Then again Santa’s reindeer are the only ones that fly so maybe these magical reindeer, if male, keep their antlers through the end of December. Who knows? Here are some more facts about reindeer to keep you up to speed about this holiday favorite.

Reindeer Facts

Reindeer are classified as the same genus and species as caribou

They are domesticated animals used for pulling sleds and carrying packs mostly in northern Europe and Asia

Males can have antlers from 20-51 inches long

Female’s antlers are 9-20 inches

Antlers fall off and grow back every years

Hairy hooves help reindeer have a good grip walking on frozen ground and ice

Reindeer have 2 coat layers. The inner layer is wool and the outer layer is hollow hair

They are good swimmers because the hollow hair helps them float

Each reindeer hoof has 2 toes

In the spring they will gather in herds of 50,000 – 500,000

Adults eat an average of 9 to 18 pounds of food a day

Newborn calves can walk within an hour of birth

(All facts from the San Diego Zoo)

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